WASHINGTON - On the eve of Senate passage of bankruptcy reform, Majority Leader Trent Lott predicted Tuesday that House and Senate lawmakers would reconcile their differing versions of the legislation fairly easily.

"I think it will do well in conference. It will be improved," Sen. Lott told reporters after a breakfast speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Mississippi Republican added that the stricter House bill favored by lenders is in many ways better than the Senate version.

He was more skeptical, however, about whether President Clinton will endorse compromise legislation. "There will be pressure on him to sign it," Sen. Lott said, but First Lady - and Senate candidate - Hillary Rodham Clinton's opposition to the legislation may induce the President to veto it.

The Senate is expected to approve the legislation today. On Tuesday, Sen. Paul D. Wellstone, D-Minn., withdrew an amendment that would have required banks with more than $200 million of assets to provide low-cost checking accounts to the needy.

- Dean Anason

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